OpenPSI – Interview: Nicholas Gibbins
Nicholas Gibbins from the University of Southampton talks about OpenPSIA way of making government data more easily available to researchersWhat is OpenPSI?The situation in the UK regarding public sector information is that lots of different parts of the public sector have been producing lots of information that hasn’t been re-used. So different parts of the same councils, say, will collect the same data. There’s a European directive saying the public sector has to make this information reusable and prevent redundant effort. Lots of this information could be useful to the research community too. But knowing what they’ve got and how to get hold of it is really difficult. We hope to provide services that will join up the three stakeholder communities: the mash-up authors like OpenSociety, the data publishers and the research users. We have a website for this openpsi.org, building on prior information and we’ve been involved the new government push for open data. In short, we hope to make the data usable by allowing people to find it.How would you like other software developers and users to get involved in what you are doing?The biggest thing is to got the website and use the data and give us good mash-ups. Our success criterion is how much people use the data we provide.What developer communities have you been involved in and if none, why not?The predecessor activepsi was a semantic web project. We’ve also engaged with people like Ordnance Survey.What is the coolest or most exciting thing in educational software development?I think there is a niche not yet fully inhabited and it’s the anticipation of that being filled that I find exciting… I’d like to see VREs and similar opening up their data and allowing other research communities to use it… and I think people are on the way.